Potlatch had the Prairie boys right where they wanted them: under the bright lights on the high-gloss wood floor overlaying the concrete of Nampa’s biggest venue, the Ford Idaho Center, where the 1AD1 state championship game was contested Saturday morning, March 2.
Moreover, the Loggers had more-or-less accomplished one of the key aims Lapwai had not done during the semifinal, by keeping workhorse senior forward Spencer Schumacher in check. After a three-pointer by Brayden Hadaller late in the first half, Potlatch held an eight-point lead, 30-22.
Then Schumacher broke out.
Having been held to three points to that point – only by way of a three-pointer – Schumacher scored his first inside basket of the night late in the second quarter. During the third quarter, Potlatch fell into the same pattern that saw Lapwai score just four during the second quarter the night before.
Schumacher (16 points, 11 rebounds) scored a post-up for the first points of the third quarter, and Devin Ross (12 points), Damian Forsmann (11) and Sam Mager (10) had hoops before Potlatch got its first basket of the period. By the time the Loggers got going, Schmuacher’s hoop had turned a 31-24 halftime deficit into a 37-31 Prairie lead.
The Pirates led by nine after the third quarter, and led by as many as 12 during the fourth.
Hadaller (15 points) hit another three to cut it to seven, which put the last 43 seconds under tension. A long lob ahead to Forsmann would have put the outcome beyond all doubt if not for a three-shot foul that allowed Potlatch to trim the lead to six, 57-51.
In effect, the late push caused the Pirates to stow away their joy until the final buzzer, after which their celebration finally began.
It was heartbreak once again for Potlatch and coach Ryan Ball, as the Loggers have now made the final game six times, according to the Lewiston Tribune, but have yet to win the blue trophy.